This film had “quite the buzz” at many film festivals, so I was eager to see it. The movie is adapted from the novel “Lion,” based on a true life story, written by Saroo Brierly. The story is fascinating and heart-warming, but the film’s second half drags. What makes it worth seeing on the BS, however, is the Academy-Award-Worthy performance by a non-professional Sunny Pawar, who plays young Saroo. I think this performance is “Far and Away” (Nicole Kidman – 1992) the best I have seen from a child actor in many years!
Saroo is about 5 years old, living in India with his mother, older brother, and younger sister. Due to the absence of a father, he is extremely close to his brother and mother. Saroo’s brother Guddu (Abhishek Bharate) needs to travel away from home for a week to earn desperately-needed money. Saroo convinces his brother to take him along. Tragically, Saroo gets lost on the trip. He gets taken by the authorities, but they can’t figure out where he lives.
Fortunately, he is soon adopted by a wonderful Australian couple, John (David Wenham) and Sue Brierly (Nicole Kidman). As an adult, Saroo (Dev Patel) graduates college and then enters a graduate program in the hospitality industry, where he meets and falls in love with Lucy (Rooney Mara). He tells his story to his colleagues, and one of them suggests that he try to locate his family via Google Earth. The last half of the film is about Saroo’s conflicted search for his family – conflicted because he feels disloyal to his adoptive parents who love him and have been wonderful to him.
I enjoyed the first half more, due to the sluggishness in the second half. It will work fine as a rental. The only reason I gave it a 7.5 instead of a 7.0 is because of the great performance by Sunny Pawar. He is unbelievable, and I’m not “Lion!”